Tasker and IFTTT: The Perfect Automation Duo For Android

Ben Stegner 02-06-2014

Fans of automation will surely know of Tasker, the Android app that lets you automate nearly anything imaginable on an Android device. Another big name in automation, IFTTT (If This Then That) recently released an app for Android, complete with new Android-specific channels. If you already use Tasker, can you benefit from having IFTTT on your device? Let’s find out.


IFTTT: A Brief Overview

If you’ve never heard of IFTTT, our Ultimate Guide The Ultimate IFTTT Guide: Use the Web's Most Powerful Tool Like a Pro If This Then That, also known as IFTTT is a free web-based service to get your apps and devices working together. Not sure how to build your applet? Follow along with this guide. Read More will tell you all you need to know. Essentially, the service allows you to set up recipes, which each use two different channels. One of these channels serves as a trigger, and the other as an action. The channels correspond to different websites or services: Facebook, Gmail, Pocket, and Dropbox are just a few of the options available to you.

IFTTT Explanation

Once you’ve set up some channels, all you need to do is choose how they interact with each other. For example, you might choose to tweet when your favorite NHL team wins. Or, you might want to add all new Instagram photos from a particular account into your Dropbox for later use. You’re only limited by your imagination.

IFTTT Sample Recipe

New IFTTT Features On Android

The IFTTT Android app lets you access the service just like you would on the Web. You can view a running log of when your recipes have fired, browse other users’ shared recipes 10 Of The Best IFTTT Recipes To Bring Order Into Your Online Social Life Tell yourself how many minutes of the day you give to the time sink that goes by the name of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or any other. The minutes add up. Wouldn't it be wonderful to... Read More , or edit and activate channels. Where the app really gains functionality, however, is in the six new channels exclusive to Android. Let’s quickly examine each one.


IFTTT Android Channels

IFTTT - Android Device

  • Android Location, not surprisingly, can monitor your device’s location. As a trigger, it acts when you enter or exit an area, and you choose the area right after selecting it. It cannot be used as an action, for obvious reasons.

IFTTT Android Location

IFTTT Android Notifications

  • Android Phone Call deals with phone calls, obviously. With everything phones can do today, it’s easy to forget that they can actually make calls. As a trigger, this one can react to missed, answered, or placed calls. Like Location, it has no action parameters.

IFTTT Android Phone Calls

IFTTT Android Photos

  • Finally, Android SMS deals with text messaging. As a trigger, it can react to SMS messages sent to any number, or even to messages that contain certain content. As an action, it can send an SMS to a number of your choosing.


If you need some recipe ideas, there have been plenty of posts dedicated to this very topic.


How Does IFTTT Compare To Tasker?

If you’ve already been using IFTTT on the Web and are an Android user, it’s a no-brainer to install the Android app. But if you already use Tasker to automate your Android Tasker For Android: A Mobile App That Caters to Your Every Whim When it comes to device automation, there's just one 900-lb gorilla in the Android space, and that's Tasker. True, Llama is an awesome free automation app, but it doesn't aim for Tasker's full power. Tasker... Read More , is IFTTT worth adopting? I believe the answer is yes. Let’s take a look at how the services are different and how to maximize productivity by using them both.

The first and most obvious difference is that Tasker is much more complex than IFTTT. If you’re new to Android or don’t consider yourself proficient with technology in general, Tasker will likely seem daunting to you at first. IFTTT is a good way to ease yourself into the world of automation, with its straightforward “if this, then that” flow.

IFTTT Android Intro

However, the two deal with different categories. For the most part, Tasker allows you to manage everything on your device, while IFTTT is all about websites and services.


IFTTT and Tasker

For Tasker, a task such as opening Pandora when headphones are plugged in is elementary, yet you couldn’t perform that with IFTTT. As of now, IFTTT can’t monitor apps or hardware changes such as your device charging. If this is the only kind of automation you desire, you’re better off with Tasker.

However, power users need not count Tasker out. IFTTT can react to a wide variety of triggers How to Use IFTTT Applets With Advanced Filters to Superpower Your Tasks IFTTT applets can automate almost anything. But did you know you can also create sophisticated applets with special IFTTT filters? Read More . Tasker has no way to alert you when the score of a baseball game changes, or to give you updates on stocks in which you’ve invested.

IFTTT Channel Sample

How much usage you’ll get out of IFTTT on Android depends on how many of its available platforms you use regularly, and this is what the differences between the two services boil down to.

Tasker is meant to automate the goings-on of your device, like disabling your PIN lock while at home or enabling auto-rotate only for select apps. IFTTT is used to automate your online life: automatically sharing your blog posts to Facebook or alerting you when there’s a hot post in one of your favorite subreddits.

There are a few tasks that both services could perform, like texting your spouse when you leave work, but there aren’t many of these duplicate situations — certainly not enough to say that IFTTT is “just another” automation app.

Tasker And IFTTT: Android’s Happiest Couple

Android truly is the platform for automation. IFTTT for Android brings even more functionality to the table for existing users, while perfectly complementing Tasker. If you use a lot of Web services and have already been using Tasker, IFTTT gives you even more ways to automate 10 Great IFTTT Applets to Automate Your Android Phone IFTTT connects a ton of services to automate everyday tasks. Here are 10 great IFTTT applets to supercharge your Android device. Read More . If you’re new to Android but are nervous about using Tasker, IFTTT is a great way to get your feet wet.

iOS users, you don’t have to be left out. IFTTT already has an iOS app, and it has its own special iOS channels.

IFTTT iOS Channels

Are you an IFTTT or Tasker user? Do you think they can coexist in harmony? Have you tried the new IFTTT Android app? Leave a comment and let us know!

Explore more about: IFTTT, Task Management.

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  1. KeanuR79
    August 19, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Your article is called "The perfect automation duo" and all it talks about is a mere comparison between two excellent apps. What about how you can integrate the two apps??

  2. Anshuman Goyal
    February 2, 2016 at 10:37 am

    There is an issue with IFTTT SMS Channel. It is not saving my all SMS to Google Spreadsheet. Specially the SMS received from Banks etc. which are not peer to peer. Can some one help me with this?

    • Ben Stegner
      February 2, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Hmm, have you tried disabling and re-enabling the SMS channel?

      I can't imagine why it would choose to not save some SMS, unless it's set to not keep texts from shortcodes. Does it save Twitter, etc. notification texts?

      • Anshuman Goyal
        February 2, 2016 at 4:50 pm

        Yes I tried that before and just tried again as well, but there is no success. I got a reply from IFTT that this is a bug and is worked upon, but I don't think this is a bug anyway, as almost all SMS in India are sent in this mode now and I want to save all of them.

        Just to debug it further, many (around 90%) of SMS in India by bank are sent with Name: "AM-IPAYTM" and there is no number in the same (This is just an example).

        I can see the IFTTT is only triggered when there is a number in SMS that is received and that's why this is not triggered.

        Moreover, If I receive an SMS from my parents, which ofcourse has name and number in it, it gets stored properly without any issue.

        So, the issue looks like the triggering mechanism, which is getting triggered when number field is there while it has to be checked on both name and number field.

        Hope this helps.

        • Ben Stegner
          February 3, 2016 at 3:12 am

          I apologize for not understanding right away, but to be clear:

          Are you saying the number texting you from the bank is not a number, but it's made up of letters? Or do you mean that the contact name you have set in your phone is "AM-IPAYTM" (for example)?

          Similarly, for your parents, you say it has a name and number in it. Do you mean that the contact you have saved on your device has a name and a phone number stored, vs. the bank which only has a name?

          I'm not familiar with how India does this (since you said there's a difference) and I'm just trying to understand better. It sounds like an issue IFTTT hasn't worked out with localization.

        • Youplonkerrodney
          March 15, 2018 at 7:58 am

          They are not saving because they are not SMS messages.

  3. Srinivasan
    January 12, 2016 at 11:27 am

    I just want to enable X app when the mobile data or wifi is enabled and close X app when it is off.

    Any suggestions?

    • Ben Stegner
      January 12, 2016 at 7:25 pm

      Hmm, you mean you want to open a certain app when you turn on mobile data? Tasker should be able to do that, as it has an "open app" command, but I know Google put some restrictions on apps being able to toggle data on and off in Lollipop and above. Have you tried Tasker?

  4. Eric Wright
    April 16, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    This may be coming out a bit late, but you can very easily connect tasker and ifttt together dynamically. This means that IFTTT and Tasker can be connected in a way that allows the innings of your device to communicate just as fluently with the outside world as the outside world is able to do the same within your phone.

    IFTTT has one downside: it often takes a few minutes before it'll respond to a trigger....with few exceptions. Text and pushbullet seem to get through almost immediately. You can automate IFTTT items with texts, you can also trigger tasker items with pushbullet from ifttt.

    Additionally, with eventghost on PC, you can use pushbullet to communicate with IFTTT, and therefore Tasker as well. You can now connect your browser, your cell phone, your IFTTT account and services, your smart devices, your PC, and all of your daily life together into one giant personalized machine...and you can do so at near instant speeds.

  5. Manu
    March 7, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    I have used IFTTT and find it to be really powerful.

  6. Pongo Twizzleton
    February 23, 2015 at 6:55 am

    I've been using both services a while now, I'm very impressed, but am a novice. I have a scenario that is love to make happen though. I currently use IFTTT to send me a pushbullet notification when a new item tagged #podcast appears on my feedly feed. Does anyone know the steps I should take to make tasker open my podcast app (Doggcatcher) when I recieve a pushbullet notification tagged #podcast? It should be quite straightforward, but I can't work out yet.

    • Ben S
      February 23, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      This can be done; one of my Tasker scripts is to open Spotify when I connect headphones to my device. Try looking under "App > Launch App" and choose your podcast app for the action.

    • sanzoghenzo
      March 1, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      Pushbullet has its own plugin, you only need to create a new profile with an event context, look into plugins and select pushbullet. Then you can choose which kind of notification will trigger the profile, even filtering it by text (your #podcast tag).
      Once done, create a new task with the app->launch app action as Ben told you.

      It also can be done without pushbullet, using the IFTTT android notification channel (assuming you have installed it) and the Notification Listener plugin (it's free and you can find it on the play store), that enables you to listen to any notification produced by all the apps (you can select which app you want to listen to, in this case IF). But then you have to do the filter in the task itself (if %nltext ~ *#podcast* ...)

      Hope this helps!

  7. Ok karma
    January 17, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    * sms text bondage =

    Tech constrained to ONE device.

  8. Derek
    September 11, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    I'm a little late to the party, but here are my thoughts:

    Tasker can do HTTP POST and GET requests out of the box and HTTP PUT and DELETE requests, with the RESTask plugin. These allow Tasker to directly interact with some of the web based APIs out there. It really boils down to how much work you are willing to put in yourself. IFTTT has already done the heavy lifting for you and on a vast selection of services too. Where Tasker can be much more hands on, but some basic understanding of HTTP requests and the APIs of the web apps you are working with is required. For those less inclined to tailor their own API calls, a wide range of plugins are available for Tasker that do the API work for you.

    I am a very heavy Tasker user, but I would like to explore the possibility of using the two simultaneously either separately or integrated.

    • Ben S
      September 11, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      Thanks for your comments, Derek! It's okay to be late; I'm glad you shared.

      It's amazing that Tasker can do so much. I still can't wrap my mind around it.

  9. Jack NUMBER
    August 15, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Hello, I use a lot IFTTT and Tasker. IMO the big difference between them is:
    - IFTTT is a service that uses web channel
    - Tasker is an app that uses device channel

    Unfortunately its a bit hard to make them work together. That what I expected when I read your article. I have not yet this answer but only some way (Notify my Android, plugins).
    If you have any solution I take it :)

    • Ben S
      August 16, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      That's a good assessment! Hopefully in the future, they'll be even more powerful together. For now, though, I think it's definitely worth using them both.

      Thanks for your opinion!

  10. Kevin
    July 14, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I found a way to trigger IFTTT commands via Tasker. IFTTT by default sets up a SMS channel that allows you to send text messages to IFTTT and then set triggers based on #hashtags. With this you can setup various tasker tasks to send out text messages to IFTTT which will then launch IFTTT commands based on the embedded #hashtag. Note: there is also an e-mail IFTTT channel that does the same thing but sending e-mails in tasker is not as straightforward.

    • Ben S
      July 15, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      This is fantastic, Kevin! Thanks so much for sharing.

      Combining them even further could really take it to the next level.

    • Nate
      May 23, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      Kevin, how do you send text messages "to IFTTT"? Are you just sending texts to yourself and having IFTTT scan incoming texts, or sending texts to some other phone number?

  11. Dominique
    June 6, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    I think it would greatly benefit users if they took the actual time to arrange both Tasker and IFTTT to make their life easier. Sure it may be tedious, but worth it in the long run. Especially if utilizing both services saves time in the long run.

    • Ben S
      June 9, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      I agree with you. It's time-consuming to set up, but it's totally worth it. How much time do you spend doing the same tasks every day? Take a chunk of time and save hours over the course of a year.

  12. Joann D
    June 3, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    This stuff is awesome ... I can automate my entire life. Yay !

    • Ben S
      June 3, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      So glad to hear that, Joann. I'm glad I could help, and wish you well with your automation!

  13. Jeff
    June 2, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Llama is pretty good app, along the same lines as Tasker. One thing about Llama is you can have it trigger certain events based on cell towers. You have it learn what towers are near the location you frequent and then you can create actions based on that area. I also use IFTTT for other items and am going to look into what actions I can trigger with it that Llama can't.

    • Ben S
      June 2, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      I have heard good things about Llama! I haven't used it myself, but I should check it out.

      Glad to hear you have a system with both. Hopefully this helped inspire you.

      Thanks for the comment!

    • herczyn
      July 5, 2014 at 10:54 am

      tasker can react to cell towers too

    • Scott S
      July 7, 2014 at 12:33 am

      Llama rocks, and it's free. I've used it happily for years. And I just got IFTTT this weekend for web automation.

  14. CJ
    June 2, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Basically ITTT is an application best suited to those that don't want to know how it works because they're too lazy to learn and would rather be spoon fed preconfigured actions vs. Tasker which is best suited for those who want to learn how to make things do what they want when they want how they want by cooking up their own profiles.

    • Ben S
      June 2, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      I disagree. As I mentioned in the article, I have lots of uses for IFTTT and don't think it's for lazy people. For example, I automatically share all of my new articles and podcast episodes to my Twitter and Facebook pages, saving me time. Plus, I don't have to be awake when they publish to share them. How is that a preconfigured action?

      Sure, Tasker is more complex and can do more, but complexity does not mean that it's better. I love both of them, but they are useful in different ways. There's power in abstraction and simplicity.

      You have to remember a lot of people have no idea this stuff is even possible. I know so many people who have Android phones who only ever browse Facebook and complain because they don't like the color of the phone. The power to do so much is in their hands, but they just don't know about it. IFTTT is a great way to get them started using these features.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

    • Tony Karakashian
      June 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      The next step that needs to happen is a plugin for Tasker to interact with IFTTT. Give me that, and I'll own the world in two weeks. :)

    • Ben S
      June 3, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      Tony, I can certainly see that happening. For now, if you like, check out Pushbullet. Its does Android notification similar to IFTTT, and it has a Tasker plugin.

      Let us know what you come up with once a plugin is released : )

  15. chandrashekher sharma
    June 2, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    please make available a guide or ebook on "using tasker"

    • Ben S
      June 2, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      We have written some articles on Tasker, but have not written an eBook on the topic yet. I'll be sure to bring that suggestion to our eBook editor - thanks for the suggestion!